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Heathrow presses the case for growth

Words: Huw Morris
Heathrow Airport

Heathrow Airport's campaign for expansion will shortly stress how new rail and air links will benefit passengers and businesses across the country.

In its submission to the Airports Commission later this month, Heathrow will say it is the only option that can connect every part of the UK to long-haul growth market. Heathrow will also claim this is not viable from other UK airports, giving it a "unique advantage over other options for airport expansion".
The commission is currently looking at two possible expansion options at Heathrow as well as a second runway at Gatwick. It will make its final recommendation in summer 2015.
The idea has been met with criticism by local residents, who are concerned its expansion "will make Gatwick as large as Heathrow".
But Alistair McDermid from Gatwick Airport says the move could bring huge benefits, in the form of "£1.6bn per annum additional contribution to the local and regional economy".
Heathrow claims new rail connections will mean more than 70 per cent of the UK's population will be within three hours of the airport by public transport.
A new fast connection to High Speed 2 at Old Oak Common will cut journey times between the airport and Birmingham by one hour 38 minutes. Journey times to Leeds will reduce by two hours and eight minutes and by one hour 53 minutes to Manchester.
New direct access to the Great Western Line will cut journey times from Cardiff by 37 minutes.
The airport also claims that expanding Heathrow will create capacity for new air routes to UK destinations that are currently served by competing hub airports in Europe.
It says Exeter, Liverpool, Newquay, Jersey, Inverness, Isle of Man and Humberside airports could be added to existing links to Manchester, Newcastle, Leeds/Bradford, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Belfast and Aberdeen.